LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) is an action-oriented program sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and IFT. Designed for all members, it is local, council, and chapter-driven and will help your union grow stronger through a campaign process supported by strategy-building and leadership training. Your LEAD team will be supported by IFT staff. The 2021-22 cohort of LEAD teams will be focused on building antiracist, justice-centered local unions.
“The LEAD program helped our local move forward and learn to work together toward a common goal. When we focused on the needs of others, we found that we grew and benefited as well!” Mary Fran Wessler, Peoria Federation of Support Staff, Local 6099
How will my local, council, or chapter benefit from LEAD?
Your LEAD team will learn skills, strategies, and tools to apply to ALL union work. Your team will engage in leadership training and build a network of support with other locals, councils, or chapters from across the state. Time, space, support, and resources are provided throughout the year to ensure your success. Your team will create a vision, set goals, and develop a plan to build strength and power, with a particular focus on antiracist work.
What is the financial commitment?
The cost to your local, council, or chapter is minimal! IFT covers all travel costs (hotel, meals, and mileage). IFT also covers the cost of substitutes, if needed. A grant program is available to support your campaign with funds of up to $1,000. Depending on decisions your teams make, your union may need to use local, council, or chapter resources to implement parts of your campaign.
“I would encourage locals to participate because it is empowering. Using your strengths, identifying your weaknesses, striving to meet a common goal will breathe new life into your local.” Mary Mueller, Cahokia Federation of Teachers, Local 1272
What is the time commitment?
Initially, your team is making a one-year commitment to attend training and networking sessions in IFT offices across the state. The training and networking sessions will be held:
• July 16-18, 2021, Westmont (pending COVID restrictions)
• November 12-13, 2021, Location TBD
• April 29-30, 2022, Location TBD
Your team will also commit to keeping the work of your campaign moving forward in between those sessions with the support of your IFT field service director. After the first year, your team should be well-positioned to set goals that keep building your union strength and power for years to come.
How do I sign-up?
To apply, local, council, or chapter leaders should collaborate with their IFT field service director to complete an interest survey. You will need to identify a team of 3-6 members (depending on local/council size) who will commit to the training and networking sessions. Your team does not have to be composed of all elected leaders. In fact, we encourage you to consider rank-and-file members, particularly Black and Brown members and those from other marginalized groups, to be part of your LEAD team. This helps to bring more members into union work and can help mobilize members into activists. It also helps develop future
“The LEAD experience allowed our Local to become more cohesive in a Diverse, Dedicated and Determined way. Working together as a team gave way to involving our members, students and communities in activities that benefited everyone.” Elaine Barlos, Southwest Suburban Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 943